Microsoft's Gates endures PC crash during keynote speech at U.S. tech show
Friday, January 07, 2005
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Despite suffering through an embarrassing computer crash that prompted jokes and guffaws, Bill Gates promised that Microsoft Corp. would help consumers stay plugged into technology, during a keynote speech Wednesday.
In his seventh annual keynote speech at the International Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft's chairman explained that the proliferation of high-speed Internet access and the falling price of data storage are compelling people to put music, photos, movies and other aspects of their life into a digital format.
"We predicted at the beginning of this decade that this would be a decade where the digital approach would be taken for granted," Gates told hundreds of technology enthusiasts, who gathered for his kickoff to the world's largest electronics show. "It's going even faster than we expected."
But while promoting what he calls the "digital lifestyle," Gates showed how vulnerable all consumers - even the world's richest man - are to hardware and software bugs.
During a demonstration of digital photography with a soon-to-be-released Nikon camera, a Windows Media Center PC froze and wouldn't respond to Gates' pushing of the remote control.
Later in the 90-minute presentation, a product manager demonstrated the ostensible user-friendliness of a video game expected to hit retail stores in April, Forza Motor Sport. But instead of configuring a custom-designed race car, the computer monitor displayed the dreaded "blue screen of death" and warned, "out of system memory."
The errors - which came during what's usually an ode to Microsoft's dominance of the software industry and its increasing control of consumer electronics - prompted the celebrity host, NBC comedian Conan O'Brien, to quip, "Who's in charge of Microsoft, anyway?"
Gates, who was sitting next to O'Brien on a set staged to look like NBC's Late Night set, smiled dryly and continued with his discussion.